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Causal Inference Under Approximate Neighborhood Interference

Michael Leung

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Abstract: This paper studies causal inference in randomized experiments under network interference. Commonly used models of interference posit that treatments assigned to alters beyond a certain network distance from the ego have no effect on the ego's response. However, this assumption is violated in common models of social interactions. We propose a substantially weaker model of "approximate neighborhood interference" (ANI) under which treatments assigned to alters further from the ego have a smaller, but potentially nonzero, effect on the ego's response. We formally verify that ANI holds for well-known models of social interactions. Under ANI, restrictions on the network topology, and asymptotics under which the network size increases, we prove that standard inverse-probability weighting estimators consistently estimate useful exposure effects and are approximately normal. For inference, we consider a network HAC variance estimator. Under a finite population model, we show that the estimator is biased but that the bias can be interpreted as the variance of unit-level exposure effects. This generalizes Neyman's well-known result on conservative variance estimation to settings with interference.

Date: 2019-11, Revised 2021-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ecm and nep-ure
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Journal Article: Causal Inference Under Approximate Neighborhood Interference (2022) Downloads
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Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1911.07085